This is my story. Something I was inspired to write having read Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why.
“The life purpose of the true social entrepreneur is to change the world.” - Bill Drayton
I’ve always done what was I was told to do; to listen to my elders, to not ask too many questions, to study hard, to get a job, etc. As traditional in my culture, I readily complied.
With that came the trappings of living a life of expectation (expectation of others and not so much my own); getting the house, the cars, the holidays, etc and the prestige that came with it all. I’ve always been a high achiever and consider myself to still be so.
I’d show off to my friends that I had more letters behind my name than in my full name (now I just say it in jest). I was always keen to tell friends and family where I worked in the City of London. I was always happy, but never content.
After getting married, buying a home and having kids life was different, and yet still the same. I was still very happy, but still felt a level of discontent.
“I never had a plan for my life.”
Changing job titles, changing companies, exploring different hobbies — all kept me busy; at times happy, but never fulfilled. Friends and family would always say how fortunate I was (hard work rather than fortune I’d say).
I was playing it safe, I was fitting in and I had a sense of belonging. I had everything, yet I still felt as if something was missing.
“The most basic human desire is to feel like you belong. Fitting in is important.” - Simon Sinek
Call it luck, serendipity, the law of attraction or the universe working its’ magic, but I was fortunate enough to meet a role model a few years ago who coached me to help me define who I am today. To allow me to discover my purpose (I’ll get to that later).
“I attract to my life whatever I give my attention, energy and focus to, whether positive or negative.” - Michael Losier
You may be from a culture that has certain traditions in upbringing. You may believe that aspiring to achieve masses of wealth is being a success. You may have considered yourself fortunate to have been included in the ‘rat-race’. You may be fulfilling the ideals of others. You may have plenty of ‘things’ in life.
But have you ever stopped to understand what your purpose is in life? To really understand your purpose is not always easy, especially when you are just busy with life. In the main, you will have a ‘gut-feeling’ that there is more to life, but consider the following and try to recognise:
1. You are living a pattern - How many of you feel as if you are on hamster wheel? I certainly did. Be it the same old routine of work and home life, or going out to the same places night after night? Identify the patterns and break them!! If you can’t figure it out yourself, ask for help.
2. You are no longer developing yourself - Many of you would have been relieved to leave school, college or university behind. But this shouldn’t mean that you stop educating yourself, developing yourself or learning new crafts. I was always an avid reader, but I’ve started reading a lot more than I ever did. It’s only with self-development that you can truly understand your calling.
3. You are not making any new friends - Jim Rohn quoted that, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. It’s not a case of doing away with old friends, but to spend time making new ones who will improve your average. I started networking a lot more, associating myself with people from different walks of life and spending time with people I would consider role models.
4. You are able to do more than one thing in life - Gone are the old days of having a job for life. I had this mindset for a long time. But in this age of ‘disruption’, the jobs you see today are not the jobs you will see in 10 years' time. Diversify in what are you are able to do, explore your interests and start making plans.
5. What makes you happy - Many things made me happy; spending time with my family, watching movies, playing on the Xbox. And these I still do. But the happiness I’m talking about is the kind that you would lose sleep over, the kind that is present day after day and not fleeting, moment to moment. Knowing what really makes you happy, will allow you to identify what it is you want to do in life.
6. Who inspires you - I grew up with Bruce Lee as my role model, thinking I would I be this amazing martial artist beating up baddies. That never happened. But as you become adults, to be able to identify yourself with someone you admire, makes what you want to do with your life that little easier.
7. What legacy would you like to leave behind - I’d never really thought about what I would do with my life. But when I was asked to write my obituary as an exercise, it really made me think. Do you really want to look back on your life in old age and realise that you did not achieve anything? How do you want to be remembered?
By considering and recognising these points, you may understand what your life’s purpose is or, at least, raise your awareness to know that you need to be doing something different.
“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” - Cecil Beaton
Getting back to what I discovered about myself, and in the terms of Simon Sinek;
Why — I discovered my ‘why’, my purpose to be able to help other people become happier (on their terms), more positive and be better at what they do.
How — By coaching, mentoring, advising, inspiring, motivating and raising awareness through a caring and nurturing approach.
What — One coaching session at a time, one day at a time.
I’ve never regretted anything I’ve done in life. I’m proud of my family, my friends, my education and my work. But whereas my life was once about the pursuit of wealth I can say that my life is now about the pursuit of happiness. And I for one, know that this will not only benefit me but those closest to me.
“My education opens the doors, but it’s my own worth, my experiences and my knowledge that keeps me in the room”
So if you have everything in life, but feel as if something is missing, try to discover what your purpose is, and then take action to do something about it!!